Iranians are big fans of kuku, which is essentially a frittata. We have four classic versions, and one of them uses aubergines. Naturally, I have added my own twist in the form of caramelized onions and a little parsley. If you want to make this more of a meal, add feta cheese and serve it with bread.
generous pinch of best-quality saffron threads, ground to a powder using a pestle and mortar
3 tablespoons boiling water
vegetable oil, for frying
4 large aubergines, cut into 2.5cm cubes
3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
10 large eggs
2 tablespoons thick Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 small packet (about 30g) of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Put the saffron powder into a small cup and pour over the boiling water. Leave to steep until the liquid is cool.
Line 2 trays with a double layer of kitchen paper. Pour enough vegetable oil into a large saucepan to fill to a depth of about 2.5cm. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat, then add half the aubergine cubes. Fry for a few minutes, without stirring, until brown and cooked through (remove a piece and mash it with a fork – there should be no resistance). Remove the aubergine from the pan using a slotted spoon and transfer to one of the paper-lined trays to drain. Add a layer of kitchen paper on top of the aubergine to absorb the excess oil. Repeat the process with the remaining aubergine, topping up the oil in the pan as necessary. Set the cooked aubergine aside and leave to cool.
Heat another large saucepan over a medium heat and drizzle in enough oil to coat the base of the pan. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until soft and cooked through but without blackening. This process requires a little patience, but the flavour will be worthwhile. Remove the onion from the pan using a slotted spoon and transfer to the other paper-lined tray to drain. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan), Gas Mark 6. Select a large baking tray or ovenproof dish, about 26 x 20cm and line it with baking paper.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk. Add the saffron solution, yogurt, flour and baking powder and mix well. Stir in the cooled onion and aubergine and the parsley, then season generously with salt and pepper and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray or dish and ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed across it. Bake for 30 minutes (check after 25), or until the top is golden and beginning to brown, and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean of raw egg. Allow to cool slightly, then cut it into slices. Serve with mixed salad leaves.
This recipe is from Bazaar by Sabrina Ghayour